Thursday, July 31, 2008

Eavesdropping on a VERY important conversation...

Upadated: Mallory was jabbering like this for about 5 minutes before I got the camera. I don't know entirely what she's saying, but from what I've gathered, her conversation ranges over a lot of different topics, including (but not limited to):
- "Big Sister" (her book "Big Sister, Little Sister")
- Gommy (my mother)
- Gommy's here (which she wasn't)
- Poppy's here...Poppy's coming (my dad, who was about to arrive soon)
...I think she's talking about Gommy and Poppy until the point she puts on her glasses, then she starts counting...
- One, Two, Five, Six (she's learning to count)
- Doggie Nonny (Doggie [yes, the dreaded Doggie] Night Night)
- Zachary (which is how she says Zaccheaus...which is one of her favorite Bible Stories)
- Cayman watch
- Gossie (which is another one of her books)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Birdie Momma

There is a momma bird caring for two of her babies in a nest in the Bradford Pear tree outside of Ethan's bedroom window. For the last few days, I've fed Ethan in his chair as the birdies were being fed by their momma. It has been fun for me and I look forward to watching the momma nurture her tiny babies with grubs and bugs that she diligently searches for around the area. I don't how much longer they'll be doing this, but I'll miss them when they grow up and leave the coop...

I'll stop now before I start comparing this to our lives, which I think about as I watch these birds. If you look close in this picture, you can see the babies and their watchful momma:

Visit with Poppy

My dad came up for a brief visit, mainly to get a grandkid fix, but also to hang out with me as well. It was nice to see him and I was sad to say goodbye to him this afternoon. We had a lot of fun going to the park yesterday and to Chick-fil-A today. He was supposed to stay until tomorrow, but I think my mom needs him back home. Mom's mom fell in the wee hours of Sunday morning and broke her hip. She had surgery on Sun afternoon and the surgery went well, but last she heard the doctors were trying to regulate her BP, which was consistently high. In addition to the stress over her mother, one of their employee's father died on Monday and that employee needed to go to Ohio to be with her family. Needless to say, my mom has a lot on her brain and definitely needs my dad there to support her. I wish I could be there for her, too. :-)

Anyway, I appreciated my dad coming to visit even though mom needed him home. And I appreciated mom letting dad come to visit, even though she needed him home. We had a nice time and, again, I love watching my parents love on my kids.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Some videos

OK, here are some recent videos I've taken of the kids. The first one is of Ethan pulling up. This happened maybe 2 weeks ago and this was actually the very first time he had ever pulled up. He was starting to pull up on this table when I ran and grabbed my camera and I can't believe I got it on video! Now, he's pulling up on everything he can. He's a mobile fella.

This next video is of Mallory and her friend, Kaitlyn, playing Ring around the Rosie. Kaitlyn's and her family live just over a mile from me. Dawn, Kaitlyn's mommy, is a good friend of mine and not only are our daughters the same age (2 months apart), our boys are also the same age (1 month apart). We get together at least once a week to have our kids play. And to give you a little background on the kids, Mallory is a shy little girl who like her space and prefers to play by herself and usually remains distant from a lot of activity. Kaitlyn, on the other hand, LOVES to play with others and loves to play loud. She runs to whereever the most activity is and loves attention from others. Needless to say, their personalities clash quite a bit, but Dawn and I are hoping our children will learn to respect each other and begin to establish a good friendship. As you can see in this video, we're making progress.

PS - Mom, that video I was telling you about on the phone the other day is still on my camera!!! I'll get that posted soon. Love you!!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

BBQ Education

Patrick requested I post this. It's very funny and is worth the 3+ minutes of your time, especially if you're a BBQ fan.

Hat Tip to Kelly

Friday, July 25, 2008

Game night

Patrick and I dusted off the Scrabble board this week and enjoyed doing something different than our normal routine of working out/watching TV/sewing/surfing the net. It was a very interesting game and this was the first time I've ever played Scrabble when every single letter was used. The score was VERY close, where I was down by 3 going into the last round. But, I did play my final letter (M) next to an open "A" to make the word "Ma", which Patrick argued wasn't a proper word. He didn't want to challenge me and he didn't name me the victor. I told him that he can look up the word himself to see if Ma was in the dictionary. So, you tell me, who won?

Good game. Good game.

Updated: I just noticed that "quiet" is misspelled (by me, of course). How did we miss that?

A mosk, you say?

Patrick, Mallory and Ethan were"playing" in Mal's room the other night with the bristle blocks. Actually, Mallory and E were doing something else while Patrick built, what he called, a mosk. Hmmmm. Why, you may ask? Let's just say it's a Patrick thing.

It did turn out well, though.
And I just have to say that this is probably one of the best on-camera smiles I've seen Mallory do. And the pic of Ethan? Well, he's just so darn cute ( he's gettin' ready for football season).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I just have to say...

I think I'm going to start a new series on things I just have to say, though I'll have to limit myself on this series because I just have to say just about anything.

But, I'm noticing more "Twittering" going on with my friends in the blogging world and I just have to say, WHY? It's just one more thing to subscribe to, one more thing to post about, and one more thing to waste my time. I mean, I already have enough cyber-temptations around to keep me on the computer during all most ALL of my free time. And, do I really need to know who's listening to what music at this exact moment, who's about to mow the lawn, who's about to wash a load of clothes, who's watching a movie, if you think it's a beautiful day, if you're tired, if you're cranky...shall I go on? I just don't get the point.

Also, this new form of communication is just one.more.way. to add to how passive relationships have become these days. For example, I say I keep in touch with many of my long-distance blogger friends, but do I really? I read blogs and comment, but it's such a selfish form of communication. I don't pick up the phone, I don't drop a card in the mail, and I even don't email. It's a shame I've let things get so passive (and that I prefer it!!!) and it definitely hasn't helped me become more open to new relationships. I ask people for an email address rather than a phone number these days!!!! Is it convenient? Yes. Is it reliable? Yes. But it's all made me withdraw into a cyber-tonic (um, it's a new word, K?) way of relationships. I've yet to find a good balance and feel that these "new and improved" ways of communicating are worsening our social skills rather than improving them.

So tell me, what is a benefit of Twitter? Why should I care about it? And why should I think "it's the best" rather "geez, this is so foolish"?

And for those of you who are gasping with hands over mouths, get this: I think the same thing about texting! If I hear one more bleep of a text that interrupts a conversation or see one more family sitting around a table at a restaurant texting their friends rather than talking to each other, then I'll go crazy (I'll have to post about this some other time...).

Anyway, I just had to say it.

He's officially mobile.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A night with E

Patrick took Mal to church last night while I hung out with E. I decided to snap a few pics, since there was some EXCELLENT light streaming through the windows. I couldn't resist a mini-photo session with the big man.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pool Parties on Saturday

We went to two pool parties on Saturday; one party was for our Sunday School class and the other was for one of my girlfriend's kids first birthday. It was both M & E's first experience with pools and, needless to say, they both enjoyed themselves tremendously. Mallory was jumping into the pool (while I was holding her hands, of course) and Ethan just sort of vegged out in a floater.

At the birthday party, Mallory jumped in a trampoline (and she had an "I heart trampolines" look all over her face the entire time she was jumping) and enjoyed a LARGE inflatable water slide, too. It was a child's greatest fantasy.

Good times.

...and a very short video clip

Friday, July 18, 2008

My first creation

Here are pictures of my very first roman shade and rod-pocket valance that I made. They have been installed for a few weeks now and since then, I have made 3 roman shades for Ethan's room (which I'll have to show later; he's currently sleeping).

I wanted to practice a bit before I tackled larger projects like the living room and master bedroom. I bought fabric remnants at $3.99 a yard for both the shade and valance and learned A LOT as I sewed them. The pattern I used is online - free and VERY detailed for those who like details (like me!). It's a great pattern, though you must have patience with it because there are lots and lots of steps. It has detailed instructions on how to make your own pattern, what hardware to buy, how to measure windows, etc. I loved using it, though I'm going to tweak it a little when I make the living room shades. Anyway, it was fun. And I'm lovin' the sewin'.

A little bit 'o rearrangin'.

My mom came up for a visit for a few days this week, which I THOROUGHLY enjoyed. It seemed so brief, eventhough she was here for 4 days. I had shed a few tears when she bid me her goodbyes as I didn't want her to go, but I know that we'll see each other again soon. Whenever mom (A.K.A. "Gommy") comes to visit, I'm always able to get so many things done that would have taken me weeks to accomplish. She not only helped me do loads and loads of laundry, she watched the children for me as I went to the dentist, applied for my passport, and ran several other errands, she gave the children baths and put the kids to bed every night she was here so Patrick and I could enjoy some time out and about with each other, she lowered Ethan's crib mattress for me (since he is *almost* pulling himself up in his crib), and so many other things I just don't have the time to list. It's also very nice to chat with her about life and kids and I can't express how much I enjoy watching her enjoy my kids. It's a delight.

While she was here, I was vocalizing how I was, yet again, unsatisfied with the arrangement of my living room. It's such a big space and it's very hard to make it warm and cozy. I was telling her how I'd like to move the couch here, flip the rug around, blah blah blah and she said "Let's do it!". So, after vacuuming, dusting, and a little back bending, we rearranged the furniture (for the 3rd time since we've moved in) and I must say I'm liking it. Again, I can't explain all the whys and hows of the better arrangement due to time, but it's strides better than how it was. Patrick came home to the new arrangement (I hadn't told him we were doing it) and he really liked it. I think once I add curtains to the window, it will really warm it up. I was planning on buying fabric yesterday, but I found out that my local fabric store is having a one day sale next Saturday where all designer fabric is 1/2 off. Now, since I'm planning on buying fabric upwards of $20-$25 a yard at 6-7 yards a pop, that's a HUGE HUGE savings.

Anyway, here are some pics of the new arrangement now (here it is before):

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Farm Fest 2008

We took the kids to Farm Fest again this year (see pics from last year here). It was about the same as it was last year, but not as many people because it had rained the majority of the afternoon. The clouds broke in the late afternoon, which led to a nice, albeit humid, trip to the farm. We had free watermelon, lemonade and corn on the cob. We also saw horses, cows, sheep and roosters. Mallory was a bit skiddish with all of the above, but we were able to snap a few pics. Ethan rode around in his stroller like a champ. We topped off our family time with dinner at a local pizza joint. It was a lot of fun for us to take the kids to something like this as a family. I always get excited when we can do something like this.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ethan Videos

8 months old - Large and In Charge

I can't believe my little...or shall I say "big" is 8 months old. From last month to this month, he has started moving from the tummy to sitting position and has started to crawl. He's a mobile little fella who loves playing with his toys, though he prefers someone watching him while he's playing with his toys.

Though I can't say he's "cuddly", he loves to be held and played with. He does this "push up" move all the time as if he's wanting to stand or something but doesn't know quite how to get there.

He watches Mallory ALL the time and though she's still possessive of a select few of her toys, she's very good at sharing. Mal will bring E a toy and loudly say "Share E", to which Patrick and I praise her profusely.

Ethan is still b-feeding exclusively, though he had to have a bottle of formula this month as I distractedly left his bottle sitting on the counter on the way out the door to our 4th of July festivities. Thankfully, my wonderful friend, Dawn, had an extra bottle of formula handy for me to give to Ethan. Honestly, I would have turned around, fought traffic back home and paid for parking again to get that bottle, but common sense told me to just let it go. He kept pushing the bottle out with his tongue, but he was hungry enough to guzzle down 7oz. So, my baby has had formula. I guess it was inevitable. And it's not a bad thing, don't get me wrong. I've just been working hard to keep up my milk supply with this baby since I lost it so early with Mal.

Anyway, as I look back on my photographs, I'm a bit disappointed at how un-creative I've become. I used to have so many ideas on how to photograph my kids and I seem to be doing the same thing. Oh, how I want to get more in to my pics! I could spend hours in my photo software if I had the time. But, I have to put that to the side right now. I'm still taking pics and fiddling with them a tad, but just not as much as I'd like to. OK...enough of that.

Here is my sweet E. So precious. So sweet. So much to love. And love him, I do.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A very special first

I have been on the front row of almost all of Mallory's significant "firsts", like her first solid food, her first tooth, her first smile, her first steps, her first words, etc. Patrick has come to me several times saying "did you see Mallory do/say _____", only for me to say "yes, she's done that before". Well, Patrick was on the receiving end of one of Mallory's very, very special firsts.

Her first "love".

She's said it before with prompting, but last night at the dinner table, she said "I love Daddy". We were both there and both heard it and can both attest that her Daddy was the recipient of that "I love you". Oh, our hearts melted and Daddy felt so very special. There's nothing like the arms of your child around you and I'm sure there's nothing like the declaration of love. I'm patiently awaiting mine :-).

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Our 4th of July

We had a great 4th with friends and family. Gram and Pops came to visit us for a few days and they embarked on all of our 4th activities with us. We enjoyed a parade in Jonesborough on Friday in addition to a carnival at our church in the early evening. We then sat on our back porch and had a panoramic view of fireworks, much like we enjoyed last year. On Saturday, I enjoyed a quiet breakfast with one of my good friends here while Patrick started smoking a pork, which cooked all day for us to enjoy later in the evening with friends and family. My mother-in-law took me shopping on Saturday afternoon and bought me a few new clothes, which was a huge treat for me. Today, we spent a wonderful morning a church, lunch with friends, and a quiet afternoon at home watching Nadal win the Wimbelton Championship. It's been one of the best weekends we've had in a long time. Here are just a few of my favorite pics. I'll have to post more later after the children go to bed...

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Now, one would think this post will be about our observance of our forthcoming Independence Day. This post is not about how we're observing the 4th of July and it's not a tribute to our country, though that would probably be the patriotic thing to do. Instead, this post is about some observations I have made over the past few days where kids/family are concerned. I just figured I'd write them down, since my first thought after each observance occurred was "I should blog about that".

1. Dinner with Dora
Patrick and I took the kids out to dinner on Sunday. Our intention was to go to dinner and then church, but the kids were so tired and ornery at dinner that I took them home and Patrick went to church. But, I digress. We went to Ruby Tuesdays because I like the salad bar and I knew I could find stuff for Mallory to eat on it. On one of my trips to the bar (yes, there are several trips...), I saw a family that had just been seated, which included four adults, a child about 6 or 7 and another child about the age of Mallory (note the children were outnumbered 2 to 1). In front of the 2-ish aged child sat a portable DVD player with a Dora video running. The 6ish aged child just sat in the booth with her arms crossed while the mom of the 2ish aged child divied out snacks to them both while the adults perused the menu. My first thought (after the one about blogging this) was why must they put the child in front of a TV while going out to eat? I mean, there ARE 4 adults there to entertain the child. And snacks aren't enough? I just thought it was very selfish of the adults and I wonder what kind of table manners the child is (or shall I say ISN'T) learning and, most of all, what does that teach the child about social interaction (or shall I say LACK of interaction)? Anyway, when we left the restaurant, the family's food had arrived and the child's portion actually sat ON TOP of the DVD player while Dora danced on the screen. Shoot me now, but Mallory has NO CLUE who Dora is! I was shocked at the parents of the child. And I felt pity.

2. Cycling 101
Yesterday while I was leaving to go to choir, I was backing out of my driveway when I observed one of the neighborhood teens riding his bicycle. The strange thing was that he was sitting backwards on the bicycle while peddling it forward. My first thought (again, after I had to blog it) was how ridiculous the whole concept was. He could break his neck, especially since he couldn't see where he was going. I mean, MY son will NEVER think to do something like that, right???? RIGHT???? Sheesh, teenage boys!

3. Cereal for Bathing or Eating?
This is observation is more close to home. This morning at the breakfast table, Mallory decided to dump her ENTIRE bowl of cereal onto herself. She hasn't thrown food or dumped things in a while after diligent discipline on my part. But, she looked right at me and dumped her bowl of cheerios, milk and banana onto the table and down the front of her shirt. I was so furious. I mean, she KNEW she was going to get a spanking. History will repeat itself. But, she did it anyway. I just wonder why did she choose to be blatantly disobedient when she knows the repercussions? I could turn this into a real spiritual thing, which I think most of you can grasp, but I'm going to refrain. As a part of her punishment, she had to help clean up the mess, which took forever, but I'm hoping it will instill some more wisdom in her mind about table manners and respecting her mommy (or whoever will make her breakfast in the future). And to further punish her, I didn't allow her to eat the cheerios off the floor, to her dismay. Her childishness reminds me how much responsibility I have in teaching her how to quell the sin in her heart that she will have to constantly battle. Oh God, give me grace and patience to endure this race of parenthood!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Too much encroachment

Alright, we're due for another Cayman post. Oh, our dog knows how to get into trouble. I think it's the innate nature of a beagle to put their noses into other people's business. Our dog is VERY MUCH a Beagle with a captial B. Yesterday, she went a tad too far...

Last night, she decided to jump the fence (which is 6 ft tall, if you've forgotten) to visit our neighbor's dog, Katy. Now, this is the neighbor of our direct neighbor, so the dog's yard is two fences over. And to give further explanation, we share a fence with our direct neighbor, but there is a 2-3 ft gap between our neighbor's fence and Katy's fence. Cayman usually jumps onto our neighbor's fence, balances on all fours to get her bearings, and then leaps the gap into Katy's yard, sort of landing and rolling at the same time. We've seen it done and it's pretty amazing.

So, Katy had been gone for about a week while her folks were on vacation and they all arrived home yesterday. Well, Cayman decided she wanted to pay Katy a visit, so she jumped our fence, did her balancing act on the neighbors fence, yet failed to clear the gap into Katy's yard and got herself hung up on the fence (which there's is about a 4-ft fence). My neighbor said that Cayman cried and cried and finally wriggled herself free of the fence. Now, my neighbor is a major dog lover and she would do anything for just about anyone's dog, so I know Cayman's cries about broke her heart. Anyway, as soon as Cayman was free, she tore up Katy's deck, greated everyone, and then decided to partake in Katy's food. Now, not only had Katy just gotten home from a trip, she hadn't seen her owners in a week as well. So, when another dog entered her territory AND ate her food, Katy was not happy. So, she sort of attacked Cayman. According to Mary (my neighbor) it was a brawl. Cayman got a nice cut on her eye from where Katy bit, which started to swell last night and then started oozing this morning.

I promptly called the vet at 7:30am, who only had time in the late morning to see Cayman, which met I had to take her and the kids to the vet. I knew it would be a crazy experience, and it was. But, the dog and the kids did very well. And we had minimal screaming from Mallory, who was fine once she realized she wasn't the one getting checked. So, after a good eye cleaning and an exam letting me know that it was just a cut on the eye lit w/ no eye damage or any other internal injuries from the fence-hanging experience, I walked out the vet 20 minutes later with a purse full of medication that we'll have to administer of the next 7 days and a surprisingly calm dog and wonderfully behaved children.
(Notice Cayman's legs sticking out from under the bed? That's where she goes when she's either tired or wants to be left alone, both of which are true in this case)

Patrick asked me if I think Cayman learned her lesson about jumping the fence. I quickly answered no. She will encroach and encroach until she reaches her final destination in life. That is for sure.